- Game Pieces are Polystone Copies of Medieval Chess Pieces Unearthed in Scotland
- Gorgeously Stylized, 2.25"-High Medieval Pieces, Including Unique "Warder" Rooks
- Pawns Are Shaped Like Tower Shields or "Pavises"
- Classic, Medieval-Style Red vs. White Pieces, Unlike the Modern Black vs. White
- Pieces Only -- Board not included
In 1831, a Scotsman named Malcolm "Sprot" MacLeod discovered a trove of medieval game pieces buried on the Isle of Lewis (which is actually the Isle of Lewis and Harris, but that's another story entirely). The game pieces were expertly carved from walrus ivory and were endowed with a unique, slightly comical style. There is some argument as to how Sprot came to find the buried pieces, but if you ask the locals of Lewis, they will insist that a cow actually dug them up. However they were discovered, the pieces eventually found their way into the British Museum in London, where most of them remain to this day.
Our reproduction of the Lewis Game Pieces are made from a high-quality poly-stone mixture (resin and stone ground up together). each of the cardinal pieces measure roughly 2.25 inches in height and have a solid heft to them. Instead of the modern black versus white theme, the actual Lewis pieces were all white. Archeologists have spotted trace remains of red on some of the pieces, meaning the colors of these were red versus white.
Each piece has been cast from a lovingly carved reproduction that is entirely faithful to the pieces found at the Lewis site. There were several sets of pieces found at the "bovine" excavation, and the two most iconic were used for this chess set. The wit, humor and intricate details breathed into them by the original medieval artist can be seen on each and every piece. Their faces are crafted with a combination of realism and caricature, the clothing meticulously detailed with patterns and seams, and each side has distinctly different pieces.
Although different from one another, the kings and queens on both sides sit on richly carved wooden thrones, as do the red bishops. In a unique decision by the original medieval artist, the pawns on both sides are shaped like arched stones, or tower shields, that are decorated with ornate Norse scrollwork (different patterns on each side). Another interesting difference from modern chess pieces are the rooks; Instead of towers, the medieval set used specialized medieval warriors known as "wardens." These pieces hold tall shields in one hand and a sword in the other, with distinct differences between the white wardens and the red ones.
These pieces are the perfect gift for chess enthusiasts, history buffs, anglophiles, Queen's Gambit fans, or anyone who appreciates masterfully crafted collectibles.
Materials: Stone and Resin Mixture